For many, a metal detector has been on their wish list for years. Young and old alike dream of discovering something valuable underfoot and a metal detector is the ideal tool to help in this regard. Nowadays, there’s a wide range of metal detectors available for those looking to get into the detectorist game, with all manner of extra features to help make the search go more smoothly. If you are looking to enter the fray, our go-to guide on Best Metal Detector, will give you some crucial insights into what to look out for when investing in a metal detector model for the first time.
Metal Detectors Explained
In short, a metal detector is a piece of equipment that can be used to identify metals buried in a range of materials, without having to make contact with it first. Metal detectors work by utilising radio waves.
Detectors emit these waves, sounding an alert if and when they happen upon any secondary sources. If such instances, these means the presence of metal has been detected.
As soon as you switch a metal detector on, an electromagnetic field is generated within the head of the device, with this subsequently expanding into the surrounding area.
Should something made of metal fall within the search range of this electromagnetic field, specific currents are generated which work to counter the field itself. This minimises the overall strength of the electromagnetic field, with the resulting data produced alerting the user to nearby metals.
Metal Detector Types
All models of metal detector use a coil transmitter, generating an electromagnetic field across it. Additionally, a magnetic flux can be found beneath the coil itself. It is this, the magnetic flux, that is transformed into readable data that can be processed via the display of the metal detector. This alerts the user to presence of metal. Different types of metal detector operate differently.
Very Low Frequency (VLF)
Very low frequency metal detectors are arguably the most commonly used type of metal detector. Also known as induction balance detectors, these types of detector utilise two coils.
One of these is the transmitter coil, or simply put the outer coil loop. Inside of this loop is a wire coil, with electricity sent along it in one direction and then in opposing direction. This process occurs thousands of times every second.
Frequency of a detector is established by the amount of times this current switches. The other coil incorporated into a VLF unit is the receiver coil. This is another coil of wire that serves as an antenna component.
This picks up and subsequently amplifies frequencies that might be produced from prospective objects the detectorist is searching for.
Pulse Induction (PI)
With pulse induction metal detectors, however, a single coil is used as both the transmitter and receiver. With a pulse induction metal detector, pulses of electricity are delivered downwards into the ground.
This serves to generate a magnetic field. Most detectors of this type produce around 100 pulses per second. If a pulse makes contact with an object made from metal, there’s a reversal of field. In such instances, the detector then picks up a successful signal, alerting the user to the presence of a metal object.
Metal Detector Displays and Settings
Metal detector screens help the user make sense of what it is they have potentially found. For the beginner or less experienced metal detector, picking a user-friendly screen is crucial in successful hunting.
A usable screen should be able to display essential statistics that allow the user to properly establish the kind of metal they have detected. This will help determine the kind of object that might have been happened upon and establish whether or not it’s worth digging.
Metal detectors should also include a pinpointer and establish the depth of detected objects, as well as give an idea of intensity of the material found. Again, this will help the user make a more informed decision of what is they may have found and determine whether or not it’s a valuable find.
A host of other settings should also be found as standard. These include battery life indicators, which are very important for those undertaking long searches of sites.
You should also invest in a model where the sensitivity of the detector can be readily adjusted. This will help you focus your search at particular points of interest and help you refine in-depth searches with promising readings.
Essential Extras and Accessories
It’s not just the main metal detector model you need to invest in if you are hoping of uncovering something valuable. There is a host of extras to add to your inventory before embarking on a hunt.
Second in importance to the metal detector itself is a shovel. After all, there’s no point chancing upon a positive reading if you can’t get to your loot. It’s worth investing in something of quality here.
You will want a shovel that’s easy to handle and comfortable to carry, allowing you to sift through sand or soil with ease. What’s more, you’ll want something that’s robust and resilient to the elements, ensuring you won’t need to replace it any time soon.
You will no doubt have seen many a detectorist walking around wearing headphones. If you are looking to compensate for technical shortcomings in a cheaper model, or you are looking to amplify the search capabilities of a more expensive one, headphones are definitely worth investing in.
Adding a pair of headphones to your arsenal means you limit the chance of missing a potential signal, whether that’s because your main device isn’t all that powerful, or you’re searching in an outdoor environment with all manner of audible distractions.
We have talked a little about pinpointers above, but it’s worth taking a moment to delve more deeply. A pinpointer is a must if you are hoping to establish exactly where a potential find is located.
A premium pinpointer will provide you with very specific information in this regard, saving you time and hassle in digging in the wrong spot. If you are worried about rival detectorists happening upon something of value, or you’re simply looking to shave time off your search, investing in a pintpointer is a must.
Planning on hunting at night or during the winter months? Make sure you’ve got a flash light to hand. Even in daylight, a good flash light will prove its worth after you start digging, giving you much better visibility of potential finds in the ground.
Furthermore, you will want to make sure you’ve got ample storage for all your kit on the move, so take some time to pick out a durable backpack to house all your equipment and accessories.
Nowadays, metal detectors are generally more affordable than they once were. Even the amateur treasure hunter can find a model that’s fit for task that won’t break the bank. However, if you’ve the money to spare, it’s worth considering your options before splurging on a purchase.
A quality metal detector that delivers will usually retail for no less than £120-150. Go any lower than that and you’ll want to make sure you’ve thoroughly brushed up on the spec offered to ensure it can handle the kind of detectorist applications you’re after.
If you are a more proficient detectorist, you can expect to pay many times that amount for a premium model.
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Product Reviews of 4 Best Metal Detector
Keen to begin your treasure hunt? Now you know what to look for in a good metal detector, it’s time to explore what’s currently available on the market. We have put together a line-up of some of the best options available to UK buyers right now. You will find models from reputable manufacturers with a host of nifty features, with a range of options to accommodate all budgets.
There is lots to love about this metal detector from DR.ÖTEK. Designed for adults, this metal detector is a great bet for those just starting out, with plenty of user-friendly features to make your treasure hunts go without a hitch.
For starters, there is a clear LCD display with backlight, allowing you to make quick and easy readings, even in darkness. Energy efficiency has also been considered in the manufacture of this detector, with the LCD screen shutting off automatically after ten minutes. As such, you won’t find yourself with a dead battery at the worst possible time.
This metal detector boasts no less than five enhanced modes of operation, including discrimination, memory, pinpoint, all metal and jewellery modes. An innovative memory mode function also recalls a single kind of metal to look out for while detecting. This is particularly handy if you’re looking to streamline your hunts in search of specific materials.
Depth and sensitivity adjustments can also be made quickly, with five different grades of sensitivity allowable. Finally, this detector is a good option for those after something lightweight and easy to carry over long distances.
Here’s a very affordable option for those first starting out in metal detecting. The MMD02 has plenty in the way of user-friendly features, making it a good choice for kids and adults alike. The large LCD display has been equipped with backlights to allow for easy readings in all light conditions, while a low battery indicator is on hand to remind you when to replace.
The adjustable stem length of this metal detector also means you can easily change things up to ensure the model is best positioned to your height. An overload warning feature also comes as standard.
This metal detector can be used to detect all types of metal, with three tone audio to identify which type of metal you may have uncovered. Low tones will let you know you’ve stumbled upon ferrous metals and items like screws and nails, while a medium tone will alert you to metals with medium levels of conductivity, such as foil and rings.
A high tone will let you know you have happened upon high conductivity metals, such as copper and silver. What’s more, this metal detector is built with outdoor use in mind, with a waterproof housing ensuring you can use it safely in water. This makes it a good choice for those looking to comb beaches in their search for loot.
This URCERI GC-1028 Metal Detector offers some impressive features at a very affordable price point. This robust metal detector includes an illuminated LCD display that offers all manner of readings.
You can enjoy displays regarding sensitivity level, depth and battery levels. As such, you can keep on top of your search with all the relevant information as you go. The LCD screen includes an audio port so you can hook your detector up to a pair of headphones if you want better audible feedback as you hunt.
The build of this metal detector is also worth praise. It’s been designed with heavy-duty outdoor searching in mind, allowing you to get to work in all manner of soil conditions. You will also find a waterproof search coil included so that you can submerge your detector into shallow waters, making it ideal for use at the beach.
This FLOUREON metal detector is a good option for those just getting into the metal detecting game who want to hedge their bets with something budget-friendly. That being said, this metal detector doesn’t skimp on great features and user-friendly design.
Firstly, it’s height adjustable, allowing you to personalise it to your preference with ease. This level of adjustment also makes it suitable for kids and adults alike.
On a technical note, the search coil is waterproof, making it suitable for use at the beach. In terms of readings, the LCD display comes with a green backlight, making it incredibly easy to keep on top of what you’re dealing with underfoot. You can also make quick adjustments here, including increases and decreases of sensitivity.
Included alongside the main metal detector itself is a host of handy extras to help you on your way. In addition to a 9V battery to operate your device, you will find a pair of headphones for when you require better audible feedback.
Also included is a folding shovel that comes with its own storage pouch. If you are limited to a smaller budget, this is well worth a look. It also makes a great gift for kids or beginners.